Beating the Drudge effect

This morning’s Observer column

There is a way out of the morass, but it requires the application of old-fashioned journalistic skills and values. Or, more prosaically, sceptical, investigative reporting. The fact that something is circulating on the net is not, in itself, news – any more than is the fact that microbes circulate in drinking water. You can find anything you want on the net, and I mean anything. So what?

The rot that so offends Obama set in when ‘mainstream’ reporters began to relay what they found on the net in their own publications. And that happened a long time ago with the Drudge Report and the vicious right-wing campaign to bring down Bill Clinton.

A good example of how to deal with internet rumours was provided last week by David Weigel of Reason magazine…